By Kevin Hammons, Stevensville
Stevensville Town Council is considering renewing its ban on concealed carry in parks, government buildings, government meetings, and schools and expanding the ban to include open carry. If the Town Council, in its infinite wisdom, is going to restrict the right of We the People to defend ourselves, what are they going to do to guarantee us safety? What can they do?
For the past two and a half decades, this nation has been experimenting with permitted concealed carry, and the evidence demonstrates that more armed citizens means less crime. Nationwide and state by state, as more and more states loosen carry laws, crime rates drop, especially for violent crime. Armed citizens are also quite safe. Consider this gem from Newsweek: “2 percent of civilian shootings involved an innocent person mistakenly identified as a criminal. The ‘error rate’ for the police, however, was 11 percent, more than five times as high.” (http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/1993/11/14/are-we-a-nation-of-cowards.html)
“For public safety purposes” – this is the stated purpose in Montana state law (45-8-351(2)(a)) for allowing local governments some leeway in controlling the carrying and discharge of firearms. “Public safety purposes” are demonstrably better served by allowing citizens, whenever possible, the tools best suited to defend themselves, yet this Council seems bent on controlling us to the maximum extent allowed in State law.
The excuse that it’s only a few, small ‘gun free zones’ that the Council is creating is ridiculous because these zones carry an impact far beyond their boundaries. If, for example, somebody coming into town on a motorcycle was planning to stop at the library or park, they would have to leave their firearm at home. Public safety would be denied another armed guardian simply to assuage the paranoia of the ignorant.
Those of us who believe that liberty is the best bulwark for safety need to make our voices heard at the May 23rd Council meeting.